Your photos suck. I hate them. Your friends hate them. Even your mom hates them. I’m sorry someone hasn’t told you before, but we’re all tired of looking through photo after photo of you and your friends in a bar holding drinks. So you say, “Tom, stop yelling at me and tell me how to fix it”. OK, I can do that. But you have to listen and listen good. Over the next few posts, I’m going to try to explain to you why you should be taking better shots with whatever camera you have. You don’t have to have a $3000 Nikon to take great photos. Just follow some simple rules, and soon you’ll be taking interesting pictures with that smartphone camera, out-of-the-box wal-mart camera, high end professional camera, or anything in between. So grab a cup of coffee and sit right down. I’m gonna learn you some photography.
Part I – Stop Putting Your Subject in the Middle
Yes, we’re talking composition here. If I look at your photos, and your main subject is in the middle of the frame every time, I’m bored and I want to go to bed. Our eyes want balance in a picture, not necessarily symmetry. Sure, there are some times when your subject needs to be in the middle. But for the majority, your subject needs to be off-center. Just follow the Rule of Thirds. “What’s the Rule of Thirds?” you’re probably asking while you make yourself a PB&J. Basically, the Rule of Thirds suggests to divide your image into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. Then you place the main focus of your image on one of those lines or intersections. Kinda like this:
See those lines I’ve put on that image? Just imagine those are always in your viewfinder (or screen), and place your main subject on or near one of the intersections, or on an entire line. It gives your image a good balance. “Studies have shown that when viewing images that people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the center of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.” say my friends at Digital-Photography-School. Unless your image calls for a symmetrical composition, place your subject to the side, or in a corner.
So, stop putting your subject in the middle in every single image. You do this for me, and I’ll start looking at your photos again. Deal?
Next up – Part II – That’s Some Ugly Light